Saturday, January 26, 2013 | Latest audio lessons → VOA Learning English
Staying Safe in Freezing Weather
Hypothermia is a real concern if you are outside in cold weather for a long time. It is a condition that develops when the body is losing more heat than it is able to produce. Hypothermia can be mild, moderate or severe.
Mild hypothermia is something that most people who live in cold climates have experienced. You feel so cold that your body starts to shake a little, but you cannot control the shaking. The treatment for mild hypothermia starts with getting out of the cold. Drinking warm, non-alcoholic liquids and eating something sugary can stop the shivering.
Taking a warm bath or sitting by a fire can also warm the body. In severe cases, the body temperature drops below 35 degrees Celsius. People may lose the ability to think clearly. Their muscles become stiff.
In such cases, rangers for the National Park Service advise to prevent additional heat loss first. They place extra covering around the chest, head and neck of victims to keep them warm.
It is important to work fast to get people out of the cold. It is equally important to move them slowly and gently. Sudden movement can force cold blood from the arms, legs and hands deep into the warmer middle of the body. The sudden flow of cold blood can cause shock. The process of "rewarming" a person needs to be done slowly, in a hospital if possible.
An extremely low body temperature can cause the heart to beat so slowly that a pulse may be difficult to find. In other words, a person who is suffering from the effects of severe cold may seem dead, but they may still be alive.
For VOA Learning English, I'm Carolyn Presutti . (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 09Jan2013)